FA Cup Final day used to be the biggest day in the English football calendar when families all over the country would get together to watch the showpiece occasion.
The advent of the Premier League and Champions League, along with 24/7 football coverage has relegated the oldest domestic cup competition in the world to a bit-part player, but it’s still a big day for the broadcasters with BT Sport and the BBC desperately trying to steal a march on each other and win the ratings war.
Paddy Power has learned that the former has hatched a plan this year that will see the traditionalist’s abandoning Gary Lineker and Co on the BBC in their droves. But, the Beep aren’t going to take it lying down.
Savage & Sutton’s Hell in a Cell
Anyone who’s ever watched BT Sport’s Saturday goals show will be aware that former Premier League stars Robbie Savage and Chris Sutton do not like each other. What started out as light banter has turned nasty in recent times with both men using any airtime to take a swipe at each other. Their spat has over spilled from the telly on to radio with 5 Live’s Monday night club becoming a regular place for the two to vent their respective spleens.
Many people have stated how they would like to see the two ex pro’s go toe-to-toe in the ring and we understand BT has taken note and ahead of Saturday’s Wembley showdown. Savage and Sutton will enter the fight arena in a UFC/WWE style bout to decide just who is top dog of the airwaves. Goals show presenter Mark Pougatch will be Master of Ceremonies and in charge of keeping order in what is expected to be an ugly affair.
Paddy’s sources have confirmed that both protagonists have been in training despite the lockdown, with Savage mainly concerned about the height he will have to concede to his opponent. For his part, the former Blackburn Rovers and Celtic striker Sutton has been running on the sands of East Anglia and was quoted last week as saying he is in the “Shape of his life” and “Looking forward to taking that Welsh gobsh**e down”.
In the 70’s and 80’s Cup Final Wrestling was a staple of the big day with Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks usually squaring up all in the name of fun – Saturday’s showdown will be anything but fun for the two involved and will form part of the big match build up across the networks.
David Seaman’s cup final Strictly
The Beeb has gone back to basics here with former Arsenal keeper and Strictly contestant David Seaman, hosting a version of the show featuring former legends of both Arsenal and Chelsea.
Expect cameos from Perry Groves, Paul Merson and Tony Adams for The Gunners with Kerry Dixon, Micky Droy and Tore Andre Flo treading the boards for The Blues. The contestants will be expected to do two dance routines with the BBC showing them in two parts during the afternoon.
A panel of judges, headed up by pantomime stalwart Christopher Biggins and also including former kids TV favourite Timmy Mallett, will announce the winning couple around 4pm, with the award ceremony set to take place on the pitch ahead of kick-off with the victors performing their routine shortly before “Abide with me”.
Ian Wright’s Jenga
Sandwiched in between this will be Ian Wright and his Cup Final Jenga. The former Arsenal striker now TV favourite, will attempt to construct a replica of the famous Gunners crest using giant Jenga pieces and kids from a local school in North London.
Expect some surprise guests to also appear to offer a helping hand. If he succeeds in putting together the 20 foot structure, it’s understood Arsenal chiefs have agreed to pay off the remainder of Mesut Ozil’s contract to get him out of the club before the September restart. Although it’s unclear at the time of writing whether Gunners patron Stan Kroenke knows anything about it.
In The Shed with Jake Humphrey
Back over on BT, anchor-man Jake Humphrey will be in his summer house, reminiscing over some of Chelsea’s greatest ever cup final moments and chatting via a video-link with some of the protagonists involved.
Ron “Chopper” Harris and David Webb, two members of the famous side that won the 1970 (and dirtiest ever) FA Cup Final against Leeds are set to appear along with Roberto Di Matteo, who will bring some much needed glamour to proceedings while reminding us once again that he scored the second fastest ever goal in a final back in 1997.
The item of course is named after the area inside Stamford Bridge that was home to some of the most feared football fans in the country in the 70’s and 80’s – people who would be horrified by the fact that you can now buy sushi on the concourses in that very same stand.
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